Lenawee County Students Participate in Side-by-Side Art Program


ADRIAN – Since 2018, the Side by Side program at the Adrian Center for the Arts has allowed student artists to work with artist mentors.

Each year, the program ends with an exhibition with a jury and an awards ceremony. The show features both 2D and 3D work created collaboratively by the students and their mentors.

The program was launched in 2018 to support art teachers and high school students in Lenawee County.

Eight art students from Lenawee County High School participated in the 2020-21 version of Side by Side. These juniors and seniors were selected by their instructors at the school.

Onsted senior Joselyn Oechsle won Lenawee’s top prize for the most outstanding art student. Ron Frenzen, a retired art teacher from Tecumseh High School, was the show‘s juror and provided commentary for each piece.

ACA’s Oechsle mentor was the print Catherine Royer.

Joselyn Oechsle, a student at Onsted High School, was named this year's winner of the Adrian Center for the Arts Side by Side Student-Mentor Art Program.  Oechsle worked with ACA print artist Catherine Royer.

Frenzen praised Oechsle for his “university level” of artwork and the precision of each of his presentations. His piece titled “Wonder” was Frenzen’s favorite in the show.

“This is the best printmaking student piece I have seen,” he praised. “For me, this piece is well thought out and very precise. The presentation is simply magnificent.

Oechsle, in his student remarks, said all of his works on display were about nature. The basis for centering her works around nature was twofold, she said.

“Nature is about growth, and participating in this program has allowed me to grow in my works of art,” she said. “This experience helped me get out of my comfort zone and out of my ‘art box’.”

Royer, as Oechsle’s mentor, was recognized for her encouragement and advice.

“I felt like I had already won when I started working with Joselyn,” she said.

Each student and their mentor spent a period of four months working together on their work.

“The students’ artwork is remarkable. Each has shown personal growth through experimentation under the guidance of their mentors, ”said Frenzen. “The breadth of the media is impressive. The exhibition should not be missed.

The other Lenawee County students and their mentors were:

Adrian High School student Courtney Smiddy was one of eight students participating in this year's Side-by-Side Art Program offered at the Adrian Center for the Arts.  Smiddy worked with ACA Clay Studio Director Laura VanCamp in clay and sculptural construction.

• Courtney Smiddy, student at Adrian High School, and Laura VanCamp, director of the Adrian Center for the Arts clay studio. Smiddy, who has a background in traditional graphite hand drawings, has worked with VanCamp in clay and sculptural construction.

Taylor Ries, a student at Adrian High School, has been described as one of the most prolific student artists involved in the Side by Side program at the Adrian Center for the Arts due to the number of pieces she has created for the exhibition.  Ries worked with copper foil and glass fusions to create mosaics, standing glass pieces, plates, bowls, and jewelry.  Its fused and enamelled stand-ups that we see here are named "Luckee and Prince."

• Taylor Ries, student at Adrian High School, and Linda Jacobs, ACA Stained Glass Artist. Frenzen described Ries as one of the most prolific students in the program. Ries worked with copper foil and glass fusions to create mosaics, standing glass pieces, plates, bowls, and jewelry.

“Her artwork is phenomenal and she has done a magnificent job,” said Jacobs.

This 3D bust of a woman named "Grace" was created by Olivia Berry, a student at Adrian High School, and is part of the exhibit at the Adrian Center for the Arts titled Side by Side.  The program, which pairs Lenawee County high school art students with ACA member artists, features an exhibit that runs through April 1.

• Olivia Berry, student at Adrian High School, and Amy Philp, ACA ceramic sculptor. Berry created figurative pieces in the medium of printmaking and painting. Her 3D female bust is one of the first pieces gallery guests see.

• Karlee Szczeniak, student at Clinton High School, and Jill Shafer, principal of ACA 2-D. Szczeniak’s theme was nature. She worked in alcohol and water washes.

“I wanted each piece to be linked under a sense of whimsical nature, incorporating a variety of unique colors into each design,” she said.

Szczeniak will attend the College for Creative Studies in Detroit this fall, where she plans to major in illustration.

Callie Logan, a student at Britton Deerfield High School, worked with her comic book art teacher Taina Mantey during this year's Side by Side program offered by the Adrian Center for the Arts.  This is the first year that Mantey, who is an artist-in-residence at ACA, has served as a mentor in the program.  Logan was praised for her use of great backgrounds and colors by juror Ron Frenzen, a retired art teacher from Tecumseh Public Schools.

• Callie Logan, a student at Britton Deerfield High School, and Taina Mantey, ACA oil painter. It turned out that Mantey – the art teacher at Britton Deerfield Schools – worked with one of his own students at the school.

“It’s a much higher level of education than what she would get in the classroom,” Mantey said.

Logan worked in acrylic paint and produced several large, colorful and vibrant pieces. Frenzen praised Logan for his use of bright colors and great backgrounds.

Sand Creek High School student Leah Gregg works on her clay artwork while participating in the Side by Side program at the Adrian Center for the Arts.  Gregg was one of eight Lenawee County high school students who participated in Side by Side, which pairs student artists with an ACA member artist.  Gregg worked with resident clay artist Rita Coudron.

• Sand Creek High School student Leah Gregg and ACA resident clay artist Rita Coudron. Gregg’s works also had a nature theme. Working with clay was a different medium for her, as she typically works with paint and some 3D artwork. Along with Coudron, Gregg was able to learn the art of throwing clay, carving clay and repairing clay work.

•Ruby Miller, Tecumseh High School student, and Christina Humble, ACA print artist. Miller said she can’t wait to try new things as a Side by Side participant. Making prints and using inks was new to her when she was associated with Humble.

Frenzen said it seemed Miller liked working with natural shapes, layered shapes, and bright colors when he criticized his work. Miller said her artistic motivation for her Side by Side work was Susan Goldman, an artist, master printmaker, curator, and filmmaker. She is the founding director of the Printmaking Legacy Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the practice and history of printmaking.

Side by Side can be seen in person until April 1 in the main ACA Gallery building on its campus, 1375 N. Main St. To view the exhibit, call the ACA at 517-759-3005 to make an appointment. The Gallery will be open to the public from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday. Face masks must be worn on campus and social distancing will be respected.

Photos of the exhibition are online at www.adriancenterforthearts.org. Side by Side can also be seen on YouTube, where video of this year’s ceremony produced in partnership with LISDTV has been uploaded.


Kayleen C. Rice

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